Thursday, 18 August 2016

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff - 2 stars

Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Genre: Sci-Fi
Warnings: death, war, disease
Rating: 2 stars
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I gave Illuminae 10 months so I wouldn't have the constant hype surrounding it to alter my thoughts. But I don't think any length of time would made a difference in the fact that this book just wasn't for me.

Illuminae has got all your generic Futuristic Sci-Fi concepts. Space ships. Intergallactic battles. Artificial Intelligence. Deadly virus. The works. I've seen all of these things been used before time and time again and it's never really felt old because everyone puts their own spin on it. But maybe for me Illuminae had too many things going on. It's cool without a doubt, but I'd rather have one or two concepts executed really well than be given a bunch of strands. For example, the parts focusing on the ship's AI were SUPER interesting. But because there was so much going on, I think they really missed out on an opportunity to explore the nature of Artificial Intelligence. And the fact that AIDAN wasn't really introduced into roughly 200 pages in felt like such a wasted oportunity.

What makes Illuminae unique is that it is presented as an information file. It has scraps from online diary entries, interviews and camera analysis reports which are all pieced together to paint a bigger picture. I've never seen anything like this done with a book before, and for that I give Kaufman and Kristoff all the praise. And yet this was also for me the book's most fatal flaw. For me, literature isn't about the words that are said - it's all the juicy bits in between. And a file of events, Illuminae cannot help but be clinical. It felt more like the resources someone would gather to create a history textbook than to tell a story.

I hate being such a downer about this book because I see why everyone adores it. If it weren't for the disjointedness of the file format I would have too. Perhaps if the format took that of a typical novel it would have been more of a 4 star read.

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